The St. Johns County, FL Police Athletic League introduced Junior Development League Football in 2008 as a replacement for its previous program. Here’s what Sgt. Rob Gober of the St Johns County PAL has to say about the program:

“After many years struggling with other youth football programs, the St. Johns County Police Athletic League made the decision to switch to Junior Development Football.  The Junior Development League Football concept is a unique and much welcomed fresh approach to youth football.  Its objective is for every player is to have a positive experience while learning the game. The JDL program achieves this objective by addressing the common "problem" situations that are so prevalent in youth football today including insufficient, meaningful playing time for all participants, an overemphasis on winning, insensitive and abusive coaches and competitive mismatches.  St Johns County PAL has offered JDL Football to the community for two years and the response by parents, players and coaches has been overwhelmingly positive. The number of players in our program has doubled since introducing JDL Football in 2008.  There is no other youth program that offers this level of competitive tackle football, while providing a Safe, Fun program focused on Player Development.  St. Johns County PAL would wholeheartedly recommend this program to any youth football organization, specifically those looking to address the common “problem” areas in youth football today.”

A number of current and former NFL players and coaches have children who play JDL Football. Here’s what these professionals have to say about the program:

"But for Junior Development League Football my oldest son Andrew would not have been able to play youth football...he was considerably bigger than weight limits of other programs allow.   Not only was he able to play, he had the opportunity to learn all aspects of the game--playingoffensive and defensive line, linebacker, safety, receiver, running back and even quarterback. The player-friendly  JDL concept keeps the experience positive for players and as a result the  kids all look
forward to playing football again the next season."  Tony Boselli--JDL Coach, Former NFL offensive lineman Jacksonville Jaguars & Houston Texans

“Our sons Jake and Joseph both played football in the Junior Development Program. Not only did they learn the fundamentals of the game, they learned the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship and discipline. Most importantly, they had a lot of fun. I would highly recommend the Junior Development Program to any parent who wants to introduce the game of football to their child in the right way. Mark Brunell–Quarterback New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins & Jacksonville Jaguars

“The truly remarkable and dynamic thing about the Junior  Development League Football program is that each  player has the  opportunity to experience the entire game by learning to play different  positions. JDL coaches focus on teaching safe, fundamental football  techniques without the distractions and pressures associated with  winning and losing while controlled roster sizes ensure abundant playing  for all. This is really what kids’ football should be all about.”   Eugene Chung–JDL Coach, Former NFL Offensive Lineman New England  Patriots & Jacksonville Jaguars and President of the NFL Retired  Players Association of NE Florida

“In this league when kids are  able to play multiple positions, they learn the game and how it works  and become better players because of that.”  Todd Fordham–JDL Coach and Former NFL offensive lineman Jacksonville Jaguars &  Carolina Panthers.
“I think the most important thing to know is you’re going to get three things out of this program every year. The kids are going to learn something about football, they’re going to be safe and they’re going to want to play again next year…and I think that is what all of us parents want.”  Ted Monachino–Defensive Line Coach Jacksonville Jaguars

“They do an awesome job at letting every kid learn how to be a blocker, every kid learn how to be a tackler…every kid touches the football, every kid is a quarterback, every kid snaps the football…it gives all the kids a great appreciation of teamwork and what football’s all about. Football is such a great game and too many kids get turned off at an early age and don’t continue. I think programs like this will help kids continue to play through high school. When the coaches egos are out of it and it is more about the kids learning the fundamentals of football you feel so much better  about having your kid out there.”--Dirk Koetter–Offensive Coordinator Jacksonville Jaguars

More Testimonials
Here’s what a few parents have to say about their families’ experiences in JDL Football

“Coach Jerry,
I'm sure you hear this all the time, but I wanted to share a few observations with you about your program. Needless to say, you have created something special. I played competitive football for many years culminating with a 5 year run at the University Of California, Berkeley. In all of my years around football, I've never seen anything quite like your program.

My son is a very unique boy with many great strengths and several big challenges. When we started the season it was touch and go to say the least. In fact, he could barely get his helmet on because he said it hurt so badly. He doubted himself and his confidence was low. During that very difficult first week after it became clear that quitting was not an option and every week thereafter, I began to see a change. His coaches and teammates provided encouragement and inspiration, over and over again. He began to discover things about himself that he never thought he had. He learned that he was tough, disciplined, and mentally strong. He also learned what a guard was, how to tackle and what it felt like to score a touchdown as a running back.

Of anything we have done to build our son over the past several years, this has been the most impactful. Your dedication and commitment is indeed touching the lives of young people in very special ways. You are making a difference. For what you have done for my son, I will be forever indebted to you and his coaches. I don't know if he will ever play football again, and I don't care either way, but what I do know is that this experience has changed his life. Thank you again.”

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“My son wanted to play football but he weighed over 175 pounds. We heard about JDL Football and signed him up. He fell in love with the program and so did I. He’s played a multitude of positions and can’t wait to play again next year.”

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“The JDL Football philosophy is the key. The kids walk out there with a smile and leave with a smile. They have succeeded in negating the win at all cost mentality so prevalent in youth football. My son played JDL Football for seven years and loved every minute of it. He then moved on to high school football where his skills and mechanics  translated to the high school level with no problems what so ever. He started every game the entire year.”

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“I think one of the things that’s unique about JDL Football is that parents aren’t focused on the winning aspect. They’re watching their kids play and they enjoy seeing them develop.”

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“Our son plays in the Junior Development League program because of the philosophy held by Coach Jerry and the coaches he passes it down to. Competition isn't what drives this. A passion for football and a love for children is demonstrated at each practice and every game. Yes, our son learned how to play football last year. By the end of the season, he was a tackling machine. He had played almost every position and knows how to play them the right way. He received a great foundation for the rest of his football career. But that was just the beginning.  He learned that he was a valuable part of a team. He learned how to dig down and reach his greatest potential. He learned teamwork, perseverance, fair play, and the importance of a great attitude. Plus he had a blast! It was an incredible experience for our family. Thank you for making this possible for our kids!

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Last fall I enrolled my son (age 9) in Ponte Vedra's Junior Developmental Football, after being told that he was over the weight requirement for Pop Warner. Initially, he and I were skeptical of the program and our expectations were low. I can not tell you how wrong we were.
By the end of the season, he had played every position, had knowledge of the importance in being a team player and had developed a confidence and sense of pride in his abilities to play a team sport that I have never seen in him before. I was thoroughly satisfied with the entire experience.

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The coaches' philosophy and expertise in managing the children with the game is by far superior to any baseball or soccer experience we have had. And without it, my son would have had no tackle football experience at all. We are eager to enroll in another season and hop that this program will continue for many more seasons.

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A Few More Testimonials…

The Junior Development football program is an ideal place for my boys (twins age 7) to learn how to play football. They get the opportunity to play offense, defense–and even the skill positions–which gives them a better understanding of the game and how important each position is to the team as a whole. As far as competition is concerned, come game day, these kids want to win as much as the next kid. It is refreshing to see the coaches emphasizing the importance of each child playing to the best of their ability and not focusing on the end result of winning and losing. In fact, the coaches stress equal playing time for all children - playing both offense and defense each game.
I think our son summed it up best when he asked if we knew why he loved playing football? His answer "Because the coaches were so nice and make playing fun!"

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Our son (age 13) was never a good fit in the standard sports programs, although he always was a willing participant. Being bigger, slower and not as coordinated in early adolescence has its considerable drawbacks. We were encouraged to find out about your program in 2001. Through your organization, every effort was made to provide Nick an encouraging, challenging environment in order to move forward in his interest to learn the fundamentals of football–a sport, I may add, I swore I would never allow him to get involved with. Not that I don't like the game, but it takes on a whole new meaning when it's your kid getting hit! Parental concerns were laid to rest when the benefits of this instructional, team environment were realized. You and your volunteers have created a fun, yet safe environment for kids to thrive. The positive contribution that this organization makes in the lives of these kids is nearly immeasurable. They realize a potential that they at times, surprise even themselves.

JDL Football
A unique “player-friendly” experience characterized by

• abundant and meaningful playing time for all
• balanced competition between competing
  teams & competing players
• positive reinforcement & encouragement for
  every participant
• all players learning to play all positions
• a focus on football fundamentals
• unique coaching assignments.
JDL Football members, as  affiliates of USA Football, have access to USA Football resources at discounted rates.
© 2010 Junior Development League Football Inc.All Rights Reserved.